The race by Republican presidential contenders to stockpile campaign cash and tap influential donors ahead of the expensive 2024 primary season is hitting full swing, while President Joe Biden is building a formidable war chest for the general election.
(Bloomberg) — The race by Republican presidential contenders to stockpile campaign cash and tap influential donors ahead of the expensive 2024 primary season is hitting full swing, while President Joe Biden is building a formidable war chest for the general election.
Latest campaign finance disclosures, due to the Federal Election Commission on Sunday, covered donations and expenses from July through the end of September. The period is normally slow for raising money due to summer vacations but several candidates — including Biden and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump — bucked that trend with strong fundraising this quarter.
One major victory for Trump: He received a donation from billionaire Harold Hamm, who had previously said he didn’t think the former president could win the 2024 election and would back other GOP candidates instead.
Donor names and cash on hand are key metrics to watch. Here’s how the presidential candidates fared:
- Third-quarter total: $71 million
- Cash on hand: $91 million
Biden far out-raised the Republican field with a $71 million haul that includes money for his campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties.
That puts him in a particularly enviable position because he doesn’t have to spend money in a primary contest as GOP candidates must.
He can also raise money in much bigger chunks than his Republican rivals, who are are only raising money for their campaigns, where the maximum donation is $6,600 for the primary and general election combined.
Casey Wasserman, head of Wasserman Media Group, media mogul Haim Saban and philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs each contributed more than $900,000.. Hedge fund manager George Soros gave $250,000.
- Third-quarter total: $45.5 million
- Cash on hand: $37.5 million, of which $36 million is for the primary
Trump’s $45.5 million total makes him the clear fundraising winner in the GOP field, where he is also the dominant frontrunner in the polls. But some of that money is going to his leadership political action committee, Save America, which is paying the former president’s and some of his aides’ legal bills.
His campaign received a $24.2 million infusion from Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, his main vehicle for raising money. Continental Resources’s Harold Hamm also gave $3,300, according to an FEC filing. The records show Hamm sent the money on Aug. 22, after Georgia prosecutors indicted Trump for trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Hamm said in May that he didn’t think Trump could win the 2024 general election. The billionaire oil and gas executive has previously donated to Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley.
- Third-quarter total: $15.1 million
- Cash on hand: $12.3 million, with $1 million in debt; $5 million is designated for use in the primary
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s financial picture isn’t what it seems at first glance. Debt and campaign contribution limits that restrict some money for use only in the general election means he has limited funds for the primary.
DeSantis relies heavily on donors who give the maximum $6,600, but half of that can’t be used unless he’s the GOP nominee in the general election.
Among those who donated $6,600 to his campaign in the third quarter were Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team owner Ken Kendrick and James Allen, chief executive officer of Seminole Gaming and a former Trump Organization executive.
Small-dollar donors — those who contribute $200 or less — gave DeSantis $2.5 million, or 17% of his total. But DeSantis has one major advantage: The super political action committee Never Back Down supporting him is one of the best-funded groups ever to back a GOP candidate.
- Third-quarter total: $11 million
- Cash on hand: $11.6 million, of which $9.1 million is for the primary
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley had her most prolific fundraising quarter to date, putting her in a position to challenge DeSantis for the No. 2 spot in the polls.
Donors have been increasingly interested in Haley following two standout debate performances in August and September. She received donations from Trump’s National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and crypto billionaires Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron Winklevoss.
- Third-quarter total: $7.4 million
- Cash on hand: $4.2 million
Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy put $1 million of his own wealth into his campaign. In total, he’s loaned or donated $17 million to his long-shot presidential bid. In the third quarter, he got more support from other donors than from his own pockets for the first time.
He received donations from the Winklevoss twins, who co-founded the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini. Small-dollar donors pitched in $2.8 million.
- Third-quarter total: $4.6 million
- Cash on hand: $13.3 million, with $928,000 of debt
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott spent $12.3 million in the third quarter, burning through cash left over from his 2022 Senate campaign without replenishing it with new money.
Scott, who’s fallen to 2% in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, got $6,600 donations from Thomas Wilson, the CEO of Allstate Corp. and investor William Oberndorf. Billionaire Anthony Pritzker gave $3,300.
Like DeSantis, Scott has a well-funded super PAC backing him. It has spent $15 million so far, FEC records show, and won’t disclose donors until January 31.
- Third-quarter total: $3.8 million
- Cash on hand: $3.9 million
Former New Jersey Governor and prominent Trump critic Chris Christie raised more than he spent and ended September with more than twice what he had at the end of previous quarter.
Christie received the maximum $6,600 donation from Scott Rechler, CEO of real estate giant RXR and a Federal Reserve Bank of New York board member. Billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller and Arizona Cardinals football team owner Michael Bidwell each gave $3,300. Nicole Tepper, wife of Carolina Panthers football team owner David Tepper, gave $3,500. Seth Klarman, the CEO of the Baupost Group, also gave $3,300. Klarman usually supports Democrats.
The strong fundraising will propel Christie well into the spring. His campaign is banking on a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary. He is polling at 9% in the state, according to the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, which puts him in fourth place, well behind Trump’s 45%.
- Third-quarter total: $3.4 million
- Cash on hand: $1.2 million, with $620,000 in debt
Former Vice President Mike Pence spent nearly as much as he brought in and contributed $150,000 of his own money to the campaign, a strong sign he is struggling to raise funds.
Seema Verma, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the Trump administration, and Andrew Puzder, the former Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. executive and Trump’s first choice to head the Labor Department, each gave $6,600. Lobbyist Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, gave $5,000.
- Third-quarter total: $3.4 million
- Cash on hand: $2.3 million
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who’s largely self financing his campaign, contributed $2 million of his own money, accounting for nearly 60% of what he raised in the quarter.
Burgum, who made his fortune from selling his software company to Microsoft, can put as much of his wealth into his campaign as he wishes, but needs to attract enough small-dollar donors to qualify for the Republican debate stage. He raised $409,000 from them, about a third of his contributions.
(Updates with Biden, Haley and Scott filing details)
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